Presidents Conference head evokes Holocaust in UN address on Rwanda genocide


(JTA) — The head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization evoked the Holocaust and Passover at a U.N. ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman and CEO of the umbrella group, spoke Monday in General Assembly Hall in New York on the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

“We remember the lessons of twenty-two years ago, as we do the Holocaust of seventy years ago, not just for us, but for future generations,” Hoenlein said. “Twenty-two years ago, more than 800,000 Tutsi were killed in 100 days with little reaction from the international community.

“We now live in an age of indifference where the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent children, women and men hardly even has a response. Those responsible act with impunity with little fear of consequences for their evil acts,” he said.

Looking slightly ahead on the Jewish calendar, Hoenlein said: “We are about to celebrate Passover, which recounts the exodus of the Jews from years of slavery in Egypt. The central theme, as with most Jewish holidays, is remembrance. For us, history is about the future. We look back in order to look forward to learn the lessons of the past to spare future generations those trials and tribulations.”

Other speakers included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the president of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, and Frida Umuhoza, a survivor of the massacre.

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